What is the real scoup on Boys Prep School Hockey

<p>Hello. I know that that Prep School Hockey has been posted about before, but I hope you'll indulge me and answer a few questions, and comments on my conceptions -- misinformed or not.</p>

<p>My sons play hockey and we are considering having them go to prep school and seeing that hockey has been a big part of their life to date, we want them to be able to play a good level hockey in prep school. My goal is for them to play and not for them to watch other kids play. It's also important to note that they are both pretty smart (honors classes, geometry in 8th grade, so my first concern is the value of the education, not hockey.) I have a few questions and would love some perspective.</p>

<p>Is it reasonable to send them to prep school for 9th grade and think they will play a good level of hockey? Right now one of my twins plays high level AAA hockey (he is small and talented) and another son plays mediocre AA hockey (he is big and not a consistent player.) Note: we don't expect them to go to the same school. the small, talented player has a stronger higher academic record then my other "bigger" son. </p>

<p>Is it standard that male hockey players need to repeat a year? Some schools we are applying to seem that the whole roster have repeats. </p>

<p>Sports now are a year round endeavor. If they stay home and go to one of the local schools, they would play for the school as well as continue with their club team. That is a lot more games and practices then a season of hockey at prep school. Will they loose there skill going to prep school for 9th. </p>

<p>This is what we have been told. Is it true? Boys serious about hockey should not go to prep school until 10th or 11th grade, and they should be gaurenteed varsity by the coach. If they go earlier, and are not close to home, they will loose their skill, while kids who live closer to the school's parents will have them play club hockey too.</p>

<p>I'm thinking to limit my seach to the ISL. Does that make sense? </p>

<p>Please respond!! Thanks so much.</p>

<p>I know nothing about hockey but this was in the paper yesterday.</p>

<p>For</a> Young, success on ice at St. Mark’s starts with a new skill, recruiting - The Boston Globe</p>

<p>Sorry, I also know nothing about hockey. But I would suggest that you contact a few prep school coaches directly and ask them what they think. Obviously, they're looking for the most talented players they can get . . . so they should be able to tell you if they'd prefer your boys train with them or stay at home for 9th and 10th grades. You can find names and contact info in the athletics pages for each school.</p>

<p>IMO, I don't think you necessarily have to limit your self to the ISL but the schools within the ISL have hockey and are all great schools. They will play no matter which team they make. Few freshmen make Varsity but once in a while there is a ringer. I am not familiar with it being standard for hockey players to repeat and see no reason if the school doesn't recommend it. It will not be a year round endeavor while at boarding school. They will be expected to play other sports. Boarding schools take academics over athletics. If you're serious about the NHL and from Canada or Minnesota then Boarding school may not be the right choice.</p>

<p>I always thought this was the place for hockey: Shattuck-St</a>. Mary's Hockey</p>

<p>They have a seven month season. It might be the proper combination of prep school and hockey that you're looking for.</p>

<p>1girl3 boys....</p>

<p>I played high level hockey many years ago in Massachusetts. Played at a public HS and small private LA college, so, please take my comments with a grain of salt. </p>

<p>Whether your smaller son would make varsity as a freshman depends 100% on his ability. Sounds like he is pretty good. Take Bobby Carpenter. He started for St John's Prep (one of the best HS hockey teams from that era) in 1977 or 1978 as a freshman. He was drafted first round 3rd pick into the NHL.....straight out of high school. He played 18 seasons in the NHL and he was not the biggest kid.</p>

<p>AAA youth hockey is the highest level and the family commitment in time and money is huge, so, I understand your concerns. If your son is a true performer on a top team (Bantam?), why not contact BS coaches and feel them out whether he could get playing time assuming he gets into the school from an academic standpoint. Otherwise, a repeat year is not such a bad thing.</p>

<p>I am sure you realize that many BS have their own rinks....this icetime has to be an advantage.</p>

<p>Here is the current BS hockey team rankings.....
<a href="http://www.ushsho.com/neprank.htm%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.ushsho.com/neprank.htm&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>


<p>Here's some food for thought from a former hockey dad. I hope it helps.</p>

<li>What is the relative importance of hockey and school to your boys? </li>

<p>If hockey is more important than school, moving up the ranks from AAA Midget Hockey to an excellent Junior A program (USHL, NAHL, EJHL) might be their best bet. It would increase the number of games they play, extend their hockey season, and give them a greater opportunity to develop their hockey skills. It might also improve their chance of playing hockey in college, since top level Junior A hockey has become the primary feeder for D1 college hockey. </p>

<p>If school is equally important or more important than hockey to your sons, prep school may be their best bet, unless they have an excellent local option. Prep school will likely provide them a better education than their current school or the one they would receive as billeted Junior hockey players. Moreover, if they excel at prep school hockey, they may have a chance to play college hockey at the D3 or D1 level. Or, if they want, they can immediately play Junior A after they graduate prep school, if they are not too old.</p>

<li>Assess your children’s skills.</li>

<p>Most varsity prep school players at good programs are at an AAA Midget or Junior B level. The very best are at a top Junior A level. Your son who plays AAA hockey may be good enough to compete for a varsity spot. Your son who plays at the AA level may find it more difficult. Keep in mind, however, that most ninth graders don’t play varsity hockey – even repeat ninth graders. And those that do may ride the bench. It all depends on how good the ninth grader is. Many of the kids playing prep school are over 6 feet tall. So, size does matter. Speed, skill, and grit do as well. Repeating a grade is not uncommon. Doing so is definitely an option for your boys if they don't mind delaying college for a year.</p>

<li>Should you wait for tenth or eleventh grade?</li>

<p>That’s your call. Doing so may increase the odds of your boys playing at the varsity level. But, don’t be surprised if a coach balks at guaranteeing a varsity roster spot. In one breath, a coach might talk about an accepted recruited athlete being an “impact player.” In the next breath, the coach may make the boilerplate disclosure that recruited athletes have to try out like everyone else. As a general rule, recruited players make the varsity squad especially if they are upperclassmen. Coaches look bad if they advocate a player with the admissions office and then cut that player. Again, making the team and getting a regular shift are two entirely different things.</p>

<li>Should You Limit Your Search to Just ISL Schools?</li>

<p>Unless there is a compelling reason to limit yourself to a certain area, I would expand your search beyond the ISL schools. There are many good prep school programs within a 2-hour drive of the ISL school area.</p>

<p>Jmilton makes many good points. </p>

<p>Starters might be at the top Jr A level and some might be 19 years old (repeaters). Few 9th graders will be physically mature enough to compete at that level. </p>

<p>I also played Jr A hockey in the NE and Canada area a long time ago, so if the top BS players are at this level (surely better players today compared to then), I would tend to think few 9th graders could compete at this level from a size and skill level. One of the players from my old JR A team walked onto a D1 team.</p>

<p>Anyway. Again, if your kid is a top player on a recognized team, it would seem reasonable to contact coaches at prospective schools and get their take.</p>

<p>I have played high level hockey for years. Last year I was on the 10th best AAA team for my age. With that said, Prep school defintely is a great place to play elite hockey. Your sons will play significantly less games than a AAA team, however being on the ice 6 days a week in the winter is a huge part of prep hockey. Practice is where you improve and if you are on the ice for 4 practices and 2 games a week, you will improve. Prep school will allow you to play hockey at a high level, get a good education, and have a normal highschool life. last year to play AAA i had to be homeschooled, and as you probably know the constant travel of AAA hockey is a big sacrifice for a player. JV hockey could probably be compared to u16AAA and Varsity is sometimes compared with JR A leagues like the EJHL and the AJHL. Another important aspect of Prep school is that in the fall and spring you are developing as an athlete, not just as a hockey player, which can be more effective than being on the ice year around. Hope I could help.</p>

<p>Thank you for the helpful information and sharing your experiences. </p>

<p>NEKreader I really enjoyed reading the article. We had met several of the people mentioned in the article , during our tours, which made it especially interesting. </p>

<p>Burrito: You are right about SSM, but it's far, and I'm not sure the academics are on the same caliber as many of the NE BS. Plus we have good AAA hockey at home, so he can always stay home.</p>

<p>Weatherby, you are right on about the AAA commitment and money and how we got on the BS pursuit is that we'd rather plunk our money down on a great education that also has equivalent hockey to home, then on spending all the money and time traveling for hockey. AAA hockey also has a lot of drama which will nice to be distant from. But, that being said, we don't want to throw away all the effort by sending him too early and put him in a situation where he doesn't play with skilled players, because he is on a lesser team. Or where he doesn't play enough en enough, and he looses his skill. And while he is a decent player (2nd liner on a great team), he is small, hovering around 5 ft., so how could they possibly put him against 6 ft men/boys... but would they let him practice with them? And while, we don't expect college hockey in his future, it isn't something we would want to make decisions around that would prevent him from doing that.</p>

<p>So is 9th grade too early to send him. From all that I gathered from speaking with people, it is, but I was hoping someone could change my opinion, as we absolulty fell in love with the schools we visited.</p>

<p>Thanks again for sharing!</p>

<p>My son currently plays Prep School hockey, and sounds like he may have been in a similar situation to your 8th grader. He was also small at that point, and did not play Varsity his freshman year. Size is very important at this level, and with few exceptions, a boy who has not yet matured can't compete effectively. And, you are correct, most boys are about a year older than they would be at a public school.</p>

<p>I also agree that although hockey has been a huge part of my son's life (AAA year round) since mites, academics need to come first. Coaches very rarely guarantee spots on a roster to an 8th grader. Some schools are much more willing to move boys up from the JV team than others. Some simply recruit older boys and PGs. It is important to understand which schools develop kids and which simply recruit.</p>

<p>There are options to play hockey in the fall outside of school. The New England Prep Elite program was created as a fall program so that the boys can play on Sundays. Most of the schools provide bus transportation and the boys are placed on teams where they play two games each Sunday during the fall semester. Other boys will join half year midget teams.</p>

<p>I am familiar with many of the prep school teams, so if you have any specific questions, pm me and I will try to answer them for you.</p>

<p>These are very good replies.</p>

<p>I have 2 sons in an ISL BS, both hockey kids (and football and lacrosse) and we're from Minnesota. I had similar concerns about playing time for my kids, as they grew up in a great association back here and leaving meant taking a risk to an unknown.</p>

<p>Boy #1 is now a senior, started in 9th grade, did not repeat. He is a very good student, did the honors track at BS, and mainly went east to get better at lacrosse and prepare to play in college. He was on our A teams growing up, would have played varsity here in Minnie for a top 25 HS team. He didn't make the varsity at BS until his senior year, is playing regularly and it marks a great finish to his career. He did play all JV games and enjoyed those as well, but making the varsity and now contributing has meant a lot to him. He is headed to Tufts next year to play college lacrosse. </p>

<p>Son #2 decided to repeat (he would due a soph in public school) and is in 9th grade currently. He was also on the A teams here in Minnesota, and was a better player than his older brother. He would have been a top 6 forward on our HS team here. He made the varsity in his first year, and is contributing where they need him, starting on the 4th line and moving up to the second line, due in large part to injuries and his rising to the occasion (in that order). He is loving the experience.</p>

<p>The school he is at handles playing time like a college, you earn shifts and your performance dictates whether you get more. Obviously, injuries and school issues play a role as well. Not all the preps do it this way, and each school has different situations. Admissions plays a role as well, since the schools compete for the top kids and not all schools will admit them.</p>

<p>Talk to the coach about your son, and if possible, have some video if the coaches can't see him play. Most of them in the ISL will give you an honest appraisal about where they will fit in the first year. After that, it's up to your son. In our case, my elder was told that he would likely be on JV. My younger was told he would compete for time an perhaps make it int he first year, but without any guarantees.</p>

<p>Finally, the academic side is where the value is. So many things can happen to kids in sports and they need the discipline and fall back in the event their paths go in a different direction. BS really stands out in providing the academic preparation they need for life, with or without hockey.</p>